SA’s Test was 11th shortest ever

2015-08-03 12:14
Rain in Dhaka (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bangladesh and South Africa’s current Test teams have missed being “top-tenners” for a dubious record by a whisker.

Their abandoned second and final clash in Dhaka instead became the 11th shortest in history in terms of balls bowled (529), whilst it was our own country’s second shortest ever.

The host nation had compiled 246/8 off 88.1 overs on day one... and then the next four days all succumbed to the elements.

West Indies embarrassingly hold the record for both of the two shortest Tests in balls bowled - the ignominious part is because both games were called off for conditions-related rather than weather issues.

In February 2009, Andrew Strauss’s England were seven without loss after a paltry 10 deliveries when the game at North Sound, Antigua, was abandoned due to bowlers failing to get sufficient footholds in a farcically sandy outfield.

Some 11 years earlier, they had been the same foes in the Caribbean when, at Sabina Park in Jamaica, the umpires called off the Test after 61 balls (England 17/3) with Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh - feared even on benign surfaces - getting their deliveries to lift grotesquely off a length and “dangerous pitch” being declared.

Lying third, and the shortest recorded Test to this point in terms purely of weather disruption, is the 1993 Kandy encounter between Sri Lanka and India, where 72 balls were possible on day two (Sri Lanka 24/3), and then that was it for the remainder of the game.

South Africa’s first appearance on the list is at seventh. That game stays their worst yet in terms of frustrating feet-up time: Herbie Taylor’s 1924 tourists to England managed 116/4 in their first knock at Old Trafford, Manchester, and off 401 deliveries, before rain scuppered the rest of the Test.

But South Africa do have the unwanted “distinction” of being the victims in the shortest Test match (it lies in 15th place on the overall list, with 656 balls) not featuring a stalemate.

That was the - scheduled to be timeless, ironically - match at Melbourne of the 1931/32 series against Australia, when SA were bundled out for 36 and 45 and the Aussies registered 153 before winning by an innings and 72 runs.

Jack Fingleton’s 40 for Australia was the highest individual score of the Test.

The shortest Test match contested in South Africa itself (883 balls) was the November 1995 clash against England which, like the latest Dhaka tussle, did not get beyond one team’s first innings.

The tourists amassed 381 for nine in Shaun Pollock’s debut Test, but there was no play at all after day two.

With just a whiff of injustice considering that six out of 10 series days were lost in total, South Africa have surrendered five rankings points on the ICC ladder through the 0-0 outcome against the Bangladeshi minnows, but do stay solidly enough in first spot for the moment.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  cricket

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